BeMo No-Challenge-Too-Great Update

This week, we have ‘tightened the screws’ even more on our back-end architecture. Not only that, but we’ve also completely re-engineered how our system handles individual SQL databases.

Again, from our perspective, BeMo’s highest priorities are to safeguard our customer data, offer services our customers can count on, and be as close to 100% uptime as possible. We are feeling very good about our backend architecture and reliability now, and here’s why:

We had a major challenge to overcome regarding security and backup recovery. As you may know, by default Microsoft has configured Project Server to store all project databases (PWAs) within one SQL database. This poses two potential problems. First, it’s far less secure, and second, it makes the database restore operation much more tedious when you have hundreds of customers and hundreds of databases to deal with.

Can you imagine having to restore an entire SQL database of hundreds of GB, when really all you need is to restore a PWA database of about 100 MB?

So, in order to uphold BeMo’s high standard for security and ease of use, we challenged our engineering development team to devise a solution that would address this problem. And guess what? They did.

Now offered as part of our standard solution, our engineering development team has implemented a system that will create one separate database for each Project database (PWA). This is quite a breakthrough! This will mean that we can backup/restore an individual PWA on the fly and keep each customer database separate from one another. With BeMo, now even our shared instances are not truly shared anymore. Your data is secured within its own non-shared database.

Again, one more reason to choose BeMo over the competition – and we haven’t even officially launched yet!

Exciting news on the BeMo – Project Intelligence launch is coming this weekend. Stay tuned!

Cloud-based computing services growing

An interesting survey from Gartner reveals that cloud-computing services, like BeMo,  represent 10% of spending on external IT services in 2010. And the number is still growing:

The cloud market is evolving rapidly, with 39 percent of survey respondents worldwide indicating they allocated IT budget to cloud computing as a key initiative for their organization,” said Bob Igou, research director at Gartner. “One-third of the spending on cloud computing is a continuation from the previous budget year, a further third is incremental spending that is new to the budget, and 14 percent is spending that was diverted from a different budget category in the previous year.

How are you spending your money on hosted or external IT services?

>How project updates really work

>We are still completing all of our bug fixes, tweaks, cosmetic changes and keeping the BeMo user interface simple and easy-to-use. We will be rolling out the first official BeMo – Project Intelligence version very shortly, but it is very important for us to keep testing our infrastructure so that we are absolutely confident we can deliver on our promises when we do start to “ship”.

It’s all about doing what is necessary to achieve your desired results.

Isn’t that project management in a nutshell? It can get so crazy, sometimes you just have to take step back, breathe…and have a laugh. So to that end…

You’ve probably all seen this famous cartoon, “How Projects Really Work”. Well, now you can customize and tweak this cartoon yourself to fit the project your working on, and share it with others who may get a chuckle out of it.

Just go to the Project Cartoon website, enter the title for your project, re-arrange or delete cells as appropriate, and create some new captions. Save it, and you’ll have a unique URL with your own unique “How Projects Really Work” cartoon.
Do you have any other links to some prject management humour? Feel free to procrastinate a bit and share them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Then get back to work!

Oh and PS…don’t forgot to follow @bemopro on Twitter for even more distractions as we get closer to launch!
 

>BeMo Update 1.5

>Our biggest beta update yet has finally been rolled out! What an amazing week for our development team, they have really kicked some butt this time!

Best of all, we have finally realized our new UI! We really hope that you will notice and appreciate the improvements. We believe that the new BeMo interface is a lot clearer, easier to navigate and understand exactly what BeMo – Project Intelligence is all about. Once again, we can’t thank you enough for all your feedback! You have all been amazing by giving us your honest opinions and sharing your cool ideas.

And as always, please feel free to share your opinions on the new site design in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page if you are so inclined.

As far as other improvements go, well we’ve also fixed up the following:

  • Log In and Sign Up. We have now truly simplified the entire process. All that is required now is just your name and e-mail address – that’s it. With that, you can navigate our market place, sign up for BeMo news and buy BeMo products.
  • Project Professional 2010. You can now take full advantage of Microsoft Project Professional 2010 on BeMo hosting. You can download the trial version of MS Project Pro from the Microsoft web site, sign up for the Beta of My BeMo, and publish your project directly on the Project Server Instance. Pretty darn quickly you can unlock the full power of Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Microsoft Project Professional 2010!
  • Project Professional 2010 via Terminal Services. In case you don’t want to spend the $900 USD retail price on Microsoft Project Professional 2010, but you still want to use Project Professional, we have a solution you can use right now! Introducing Project Professional 2010 via Terminal Services. This solution will allow you to keep MS Project Pro running on our BeMo servers and then access it via a Terminal Services session. It will have the same look and feel as if it was installed on your computer. On top of this, you benefit by only paying a small monthly fee instead of the one-time $900 retail cost.
  • Sign up Wizard. Based on all of your feedback, we have tried to remove all the undue complexity surrounding PWA, Project Professional, Terminal Services, etc; as well as all the specific Project jargon used on the site – a language that seems to only be understood by us self-proclaimed Microsoft Project “geeks”. To achieve this, we have created what we call our “Easy Sign Up”. Now, when signing up for BeMo services, you will be taken through a wizard where you will only have to answer ‘Yes/No’ questions. Please try it and let us know what you think!
  • Worldwide monitoring. As we mentioned last week, we now have a system that monitors BeMo’s server uptime, page load speed, and more from more than 50 locations around the world. In the coming weeks we plan to link the uptime data straight into our BeMo Network Status page. You will be able to connect via RSS feed, which means that you will always be alerted if any of your servers happen to be unavailable. Stay tuned for more information on this!

So…how are we going to improve on this mighty fine Beta 1.5 update? Well, in the coming week, we are going to:

  • Polish the site. We still need to tweak the overall design and standardize our colors and graphics for a clean, consistent look and feel. As well, our marketing and web design teams will double check all the web pages for missing or extraneous content and get picky with our grammar!

  • Simplify – then simplify some more. We will go through all our user scenarios and make sure that we keep simplifying the process, steps and text so that everything is as clean and intuitive as possible to use.

As a team, we are getting more and more excited about our own product because we are geting closer, day after day, to the MS Project ease of use vision we are trying to create!

If everything continues at the speed we are going now, we should be only weeks away from shipping our first official version of a My BeMo offering from BeMo Project Intelligence – even if that means that we still have more than a few late nights and pots of coffee to go before our shipping party!

>Update 1.4 – and a half!

>Well, we have finally completed the implementation and testing of our entire backup processes!

All of our project server instances are now being backed up every 60 minutes. In conjunction with our “high availability” model of full clustering and full redundancy on all our systems – including firewall, network, SQL, IIS, etc. – we are very confident that the BeMo backend is pretty much unmatched by any of our Microsoft Project 2010 hosting competitors. This testing and commitment to delivering on our promises is what the BeMo experience is all about!

We are now putting the final touches on our new BeMo user interface that we will be launching in a just a few days. Our new UI will feature a simpler log-in sign up as well as a new ‘wizard type’ provisioning process. We think that this will make the entire experience of provisioning Microsoft Project something that can be done easily – and quickly – by anyone. This ease of use is another part of what the BeMo experience is all about.

We are also investigating a 3rd party monitoring system so that we can ‘officially’ publish BeMo’s uptime SLA live (our commitment is 99.9%) from our site. We take BeMo server uptime very seriously.

Many of our competitors use their SLA claims for marketing purposes, but they can’t really deliver on their promises to their customers. We do plan to advertise our BeMo 99.9% uptime (less than 42 min per month downtime), but with one difference: we plan to back up our claims! At BeMo – Project Intelligence we plan to deliver on what we promise. Integrity – just one more part of the BeMo experience.

On another note, come and meet some of the BeMo team in Washington, DC!

One of our fearless leaders, Bruno Lecoq, will be braving the waters of the PMI Global Congress 2010 in Washington DC on October 10 and 11. He’ll be there to meet with BeMo partners and others who have said they are interested in starting a close relationship with BeMo – Project Intelligence.

If you plan to be at the PMI conference, or are in the Washington DC area, and you would like to meet up with Bruno, please send him a note at here.

BeMo – Update 1.4

Again this week we have made some minor updates and bug fixes. So small, in fact, that our users will barely notice them – at the moment. We are still preparing for our major update which we plan to rollout in beta 1.5 next week. When we do roll it out, you will be able to see all of these “minor” updates and bug fixes in a big way!

In other news, get out your calendars and mark down November 16 – 18, 2010. Now get out your Google Maps and point at Barcelona, Spain, because our very own Joel Lachance will be at the next Microsoft Project event to introduce BeMo – Project Intelligence to the world:

Plus, we are  planning to have both Bruno and Joel present at Microsoft’s Tech-Ed North America in Atlanta that is happening in May, 2011.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, and find us on Facebook to become a part of the BeMo – Project Intelligence community and to stay up to date with the world of BeMo!